Are Websites Still Worth the Investment?

Everyone is looking to cut costs as they carve their path to a successful business.  With so much emphasis on social media channels, you might ask yourself, “Do we really need a website?” The answer is a resounding “yes”!

Your radio station website should be considered the brand hub for all other modes of communication and marketing you use to engage and educate your audiences.  No matter what social media channels your station is involved in, you should be directing all visitors back to a website that you own and where you can maintain 100% control of the message.

Eight Reasons to Have a Station or Group Website

  • Accessibility: Your station or group can be found online 24/7, 365 days a year.  Your listeners and potential customers can visit your site whenever it is more convenient for them. They can search for information about local news, events, and contests at any time of the day and night.  Potential clients can get advertising information that would otherwise only be accessible during your regular business hours.
  • Low-Cost Advertising: There is no doubt that the internet has a far wider reach than any other form of advertising. Even though it takes time to build up traffic to a new website, it costs relatively little to do so.  In fact, listeners and advertisers will be making decisions about whether or not they will even be interested in your station depending on the look and information contained on your website.  If they believe your website reflects the kind of experience they can expect from your station, they might just disengage and leave before hearing it.
  • No Website Means Losing Potential Sales: Plain and simple.  Let’s assume you are a new business in your town that is interested in advertising.  They may hear your station on the radio, so it will prompt them to do an online search for advertising information.  What will they find on your station?  What first impression will they get?  By now it should be clear the importance of having a good-looking and informational website.  If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities and sales because potential customers cannot identify who you are and whether they want to spend money with you.
  • Regional/National Sales Opportunities: Now imagine that you are a national advertiser that just received an order from a client wanting to advertise on-air and online in your region of the state.  Smart regional and national sales reps will occasionally look for new opportunities.  Will they find your station in a search for regional format-specific radio stations?  If they do, it would open up new revenue opportunities for you.
  • Build Authority for Your Station: It’s been said that first impressions are everything. When people search online for something, they want to be impressed when they click on a result. The first impression they receive should be one of wanting to interact more with your station or group whether that be learning more about air talent, reading local news that you provide, understanding advertising opportunities. By having a website for your station or group, you show listeners and advertisers that this is where they can always reach you or learn more about you. All of this builds authority. Without it, you’re at a huge disadvantage when trying to communicate with people that you depend on for revenue.
  • It is Expected: If you don’t have a website where listeners can learn more about your location, your shows and what the station is doing, they will start to believe that your station is not relative to them.  Don’t make listeners search for you.  Promote your website often on-air and in social media circles.
  • Appearing in Search Results: Your station website appearing in search engine results for your location is great advertising.  Even if someone was searching for area banks and a news story you wrote two years ago appears, that’s an opportunity for someone to discover your station.  Plus, it gives you more credibility and trust with potential advertisers.
  • Appear Bigger Than You Are: An amazing website presence can make your station appear larger or more established than it may actually be.  We’ve seen small AM stations with limited range do very well with a well thought out and consistently updated website presence and online stream.  Some stations bring close to their on-air revenue from online advertisers.  This all depends on your online content.  Good content will bring audiences.

So, hopefully, you’re on board with having a website for your station or group.  As you look at ways to cut costs, you might ask yourself, “Why not combine all of my station websites into one super site and save that expense?”

Three Reasons to Have Station-Exclusive Websites

  • Cohesive Branding: When you tell your country listeners to visit your website, they expect an experience that mirrors the imaging and attitude you convey on-air.  Likewise for rock listeners, pop listeners or any other format.  If the website they are directed to is a generic “catch-all”, then the experience they get doesn’t match what they perceive going in.  This can cause disconnect and minimize the authority that you’re trying to build with visitors. The station website should be considered an extension of the radio station brand in every way so that listeners have an idea of what to expect before visiting.
  • More Advertising Opportunities: When each of your radio stations has its own website, you expand your advertising real estate. Even if you offer these advertising areas at a lower cost, it’s still better than having fewer ad placements on one website.  We have known stations to have specialty websites outside of the “station” space that focuses on station-driven events.  For example home shows, town event calendar, local sports, big deals, etc.  Each separate website can be promoted on-air and via your other websites.  Clients who have particular interests might choose one over the others or all at a group rate.
  • Visitor Focus: Ever get tired of having 500 TV channels with nothing to watch?  Sometimes having too many options is a bad thing.  Let’s relate this thinking to your website.  Sure, you may want your rock visitors to know that you also have a sports station or country visitors to know you have a pop station.  However, when pages become too crowded with options, the reason why they came to the party can now be clouded.  Read the research about this here:  Subconsciously, a visitor may decide there are too many choices to fool with and simply not return.  This goes back to reason number one.  If a visitor comes to your station website, they want to interact with your station one on one.

Mistakes That Stations Make When They Begin a Web Design Project

I am surprised by how many stations looking to improve their web presence have never taken a real hard look at their analytics. They don’t know which pages or content performs the best; they don’t understand how people are getting to their website or if people are spending any time venturing deeper into their content. Knowing this before contacting a web provider or developer can provide a more precise collaboration.

Another big mistake is thinking they can do it themselves. Web development is one of the few services that businesses with no expertise in that area at all decide to take upon themselves. If your on-air studio had a leak in the ceiling, hopefully, you won’t suddenly ask your Sales Manager to become a roofer.

Some stations believe that an off-the-shelf WordPress template will do enough for their needs. In most cases, the result doesn’t look anything like the samples from where they bought it from because demos are filled with all kinds of custom coding and content to force a purchase.

Wrapping Up

As always, we hope this article is helpful to you in your search for a better online experience.  Cheaper isn’t always better.  Sometimes it just takes a little extra effort to reach the full potential of a website project.

Are you looking for a change of website provider?  Does your sales team need some training on how to view and sell your websites?  We are anxious to help your station reach online success.  Reach out to us.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.